Readers first got a taste of science fiction back in 1818 with the highly imaginative writings of Mary Shelley's, "Frankenstein." Readers were electrified by the creative horror but seemingly possible thoughts of a delusional albeit sometimes genius character. And who could forget Robert Louis Stevenson's Creation of "Dr. Jekyll and Hyde" back in 1886. Both stories revolved around the possibilities of the warping of its human characters but not beyond the realm of believability. Science fiction though would soon to evolve into a whole new level and sci-fi would experience its biggest boom in the twentieth century.
Jules Verne, who wrote, "Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" plus H.G. Wells "The War of the Worlds," and George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four," are prime examples of things to come. These stories took readers to unexplored places on earth and beyond. The reading audience was now exposed to an entirely new experience involving ancient creatures alive and well in current times or the potential of alien creatures and new worlds invading our own. We were captivated and wanted more. Our curiosity was insatiable. It opened the way for the 1926 pulp magazine, Amazing Stories and then in the 1930s magazine; Astounding Science Fiction!
The pulp magazines (so called because of the cheap pulp paper they were printed on) became the guilty pleasure of the ordinary citizen and lasted to all the way into the 1950s! It was the golden age of pulp fiction! So popular were these magazines that as many as one million copies per issue were sold. Many of our beloved Sci-fi authors emerged at this time. Authors such as Isaac Asimov (The Foundation Trilogy), Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land), Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey and The Sentinel, Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles) and L. Ron Hubbard's (The Great Secret, When Shadows Fall and The Mission Earth series)! These writers not only produced exceptional reading, but paved the way for future writers.
Science fiction as a genre evolved to encompass not only alien creatures, new worlds or anomalies on our own planet, but offer alternative realities. Sci-fi encompasses the human experience with the potential of what could or could have been and often contradicts the laws of nature. Unlike fantasy which may have characters such as wizards, elves and trolls, science fiction always has that believable scientific element that accompanies us on our journey.
With the advent of old time radio, television and now audio and e-books, science fiction has become firmly entrenched in all forms of our entertainment with no sign slowing down. The imagination and creative talents of old time and present sci-fi writers continue to impress upon us, the reader, that we always have that special place to escape to be thrilled yet again.